LETTER OF THE DAY - We need to grow our economy
Published: Wednesday | August 19, 2009
THE EDITOR, Sir:
THERE SEEMS to be little interest on where we go, certainly in regards to creating the Jamaican dream. In fact, we are still dreaming that tomorrow will be like yesterday.
At a recent presentation by a bright young man, the moot was how to protect our wealth. Nothing wrong with that, save it was pushing paper and not creating growth in a shrinking economy. It was a dream that the external or global circumstances will give us back our bauxite exports, improve our tourism and have our diaspora earn more so that they can feed us with remittances. Poor us.
Oil is our largest expense. We use oil for two things, light (electricity) and transportation. Where are the policies that will enable us to invest in generating our own power and sell it to others or the grid? And where are the policies to conserve gas or diesel in our rushing around, even buying bicycles without paying GCT could be a policy.
Then there is food. We can save more than we lost in bauxite revenue if we import only a half of what we did last year. Much of the imports have to do with feeding the 'home-grown' chickens and other livestock. How about a policy that says we have to use 50 per cent of local products in all our feeds? Food security!
As to manufacturing, why speak ill of the dying ... from globalisation? For example, do we want to tell the tale of how little of our production was used in building the last spate of hotels? Do we have a manufacturing policy? The support that this and other sectors have do not compare to tourism.
Where are our venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and investors? Seems they too are saving their cash in bonds and clopping coupons based on government paper. This, in an economy that cannot increase its tax revenues and much less with governments that cannot collect much of the taxes that are currently due.
We need to grow our economy, otherwise one day we may find that the value of the coupons is not worth the paper that they are printed on. Wealth is created by production - the production of goods and services.
So to the Neros all around us, keep on fiddling, I smell fire, something is burning. Today (August 17) is the 58th anniversary of Hurricane Charlie and the birthday of the Rt Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, lest we forget.
I am, etc.,
58 Paddington Terrace,